If you’ve inherited a property, this is little known zoning secret could make you hundreds of thousands of dollars!
Have you inherited a property with unfavorable zoning restrictions? Did you know you could sidestep particular zoning laws if you meet certain conditions with a little known secret?
Hi, Eren Millam here, your favorite bearded Realtor specializing in Lewis County, WA real estate. I’ve been practicing real estate for nearly a decade, and believe me, they don’t teach these kinds of things in real estate school. I guarantee you not many people know about this, because I’ve never seen it nor heard of it until the other day. So, you’re in for a real treat!
First, a little background on zoning restrictions for those who may not be aware. In Lewis County, land is divided into zones which restricts what you can use it for and how big of a tract it can be. To be more precise and less confusing, this particular situation is dealing with Residential Zoning in the county. For the most part, you have RDD-5, RDD-10, RDD-20. RDD stands for Rural Development District and the corresponding number matches the minimum lot size for one home. So RDD-5 means one home per 5 acres. Likewise, you would need at least 10 acres in RDD-5 zoning to be able to split and sell two 5-acre lots which is nearly 60%+ more valuable than one 10-acre lot.
The client I am assisting is an out of area estate consisting of three beneficiaries. Their specific property was just under 25 acres but zoned RDD-10. Even though there are numerous properties surrounding this specific property that are all 5 acres or less, the county will not budge from its zoning laws. The surrounding properties were all “grandfathered in”, meaning their property lines existed prior to the zoning. Further, this property is bordered on 3 sides by public roads. You would think the county would make an exception, but they are sticklers for their current zoning. Due to the current zoning of RDD-10, this property could only be split into two parcels, of any amount of acres, as long as the minimum is 10 acres. They could have done a 10 acre lot and a 15 acre lot or a 12 acre lot and a 13 acre lot. There are lots of options how to separate them, but you can imagine how the zoning minimums can be restrictive. Also, a 10 acre lot is less desirable than a 5 acre lot, so price per acre is higher on a 5 acre lot.
An Exception to the Zoning Rule
I learned the other day that there is an exception to the zoning rule. Essentially, it states that an inherited property can be divided into as many tracts as there are beneficiaries REGARDLESS of zoning restrictions. The only limitation to this exception is that the property must meet all set backs for utilities to be able to support one residential unit. Using the situation with my client, they will be able to split the 25 acre parcel into 3 tracts. This will enable them to sell two 5-acre parcels and one 15 acre parcel. To understand how important this is, the exception will allow the estate to make nearly $100,000 more than they otherwise would have. That is a life-changing amount, even divided between the beneficiaries!
How to use this Inherited Property Zoning Secret to Your Advantage
The honest truth is that this inherited property zoning secret most likely won’t apply to most situations. The property has to be inherited, the number of beneficiaries has to outnumber the zoning restrictions, and the land needs be able to be improved. Going a step further, one has to know the right questions to ask to learn about this secret to use it to your advantage. The good news is that now you know and knowledge is power! I’ve already let my parents know they need to have multiple beneficiaries, not just one, and consider adding our spouses as beneficiaries as well.
If you’re looking for assistance maximizing the value of your estate, reach out to a realtor who makes education and personal betterment a top priority. I’m Eren Millam w/ Premiere Property Group and remember, never settle for less than extraordinary!
If you’re thinking of buying or selling your home in the west Lewis County area, contact me today! I’d love to hear from you! Eren Millam – Managing Broker Premiere Property Group, LLC WA License No. 26933
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Call/Text: (360) 219-3616 | Email: Eren@LewisCountyHomes.com
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